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TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ You could do nothing so proper as to hasten back when you found the Parliament dissolved. With the influence which your address must have gain, ed you, it may reasonably be expected that your presence will be of importance, and your activity of effect.
“ Your solicitude for me gives me that pleasure which every man feels from the kindness of such a friend; and it is with delight I relieve it by telling, that Dr. Brocklesby's account is true, and that I am, by the blessing of God, wonderfully relieved.
“ You are entering upon a transaction which requires much prudence. You must endeavour to oppose without exasperating ; to practise temporary hostility, without producing enemies for life. This is, perhaps, hard to be done ; yet it has been done by many, and seems most likely to be effected by opposing merely upon general principles, without descending to personal or particular censures or objections. One thing I must enjoin you, which is seldom observed in the conduct of elections ;--I must entreat you to be scrupulous in the use of strong liquors. One night's drunkenness may defeat the labours of forty days well employed. Be firm, but not clamorous ; be active, but not malicious ; and you may form such an interest, as may not only exalt yourself, but dignify your family.
“ We are, as you may suppose, all busy here, Mr. Fox resolutely stands for Westminster, and his friends
. However that
be, he will certainly have a seat.
Mr. Hoole has 1784. just told me, that the city leans towards the King. Ætat. 75.
" Let me hear, from time to time, how you are employed, and what progress you make.
Make dear Mrs. Boswell, and all the young
To Mr. Langton he wrote with that cordiality which was suitable to the long friendship which had subsisted between him and that gentleman. March 27.
“Since you left me, I have continued in my own opinion, and in Dr. Brocklesby's, to grow better with respect to all my formidable and dangerous distempers ; though to a body battered and shaken as mine has lately been, it is to be feared that weak attacks may be sometimes mischievous. I have, indeed, by standing carelessly at an open window, got a very troublesome cough, which it has been necessary to appease by opium, in larger quantities than I like to take, and I have not found it give way so readily as I expected ; its obstinacy, however, seems at last disposed to submit to the remedy, and I know not whether I should then have a right to complain of any morbid sensation. My asthma is, I am afraid, constitutional and incurable ; but it is only occasional, and unless it be excited by labour or by cold, gives me no molestation, nor does it lay very close siege to life ; for Sir John Floyer, whom the physical race consider as authour of one of the best books upon it, panted on to ninety, as was supposed; and why were we content with supposing a fact so interesting, of a man so conspicu
1784. ous ? because he corrupted, at perhaps seventy or eighty, the register, that he might pass for
younger Ætat. 75.
than he, was. He was not much less than eighty, when to a man of rank who modestly asked his age, he answered, 'Go look ;' though he was in general a man of civility and elegance.
“ The ladies, I find, are at your house all well, except Miss Langton, who will probably soon recover her health by light suppers. Let her eat at dinner as she will, but not take a full stomach to bed.Pay my sincere respects to dear Miss Langton in Lincolnshire, let her know that I mean not to break our league of friendship, and that I have a set of Lives for her, when I have the means of sending it."
April 8. “ I am still disturbed by my cough ; but what thanks have I not to pay, when my cough is the most painful sensation that I feel ? and froin that I expect hardly to be released, while winter continues to gripe us with so much pertinacity. The year has now advanced eighteen days beyond the equinox, and still there is very little remission of the cold. When warm weather comes, which surely must come at last, I hope it will help both me and your young lady.
“ The man so busy about addresses is neither more nor less than our own Boswell, who had come as far as York towards London, but turned back on the dissolution, and is said now to stand for some place. Whether to wish him success, his best frends hesitate.
“ Let me have your prayers for the completion of my recovery: I am now better than I ever expected to have been. May God add to his mercies
enable me to use them according 1784. to his will. My compliments to all.”
Ætat. 75. April 13. “ I had this evening a note from Lord Portmore, desiring that I would give you an account of my health. You might have had it with less circumduction. I am, by God's blessing, I believe free from all morbid sensations, except a cough, which is only troublesome. But I am still weak, and can have no great hope of strength till the weather shall be softer. The summer, if it be kindly, will, I hope, enable me to support the winter. God, who has so wonderfully restored me, can preserve me in all seasons.
“ Let me enquire in my turn after the state of your family, great and little. I hope Lady Rothes and Miss Langton are both well. That is a good basis of content. Then how goes George on with his studies? How does Miss Mary? And how does my own Jenny? I think I owe Jenny a letter, which I will take care to pay. In the mean time tell her that I acknowledge the debt.
“ Be pleased to make my compliments to the ladies. If Mrs. Langton comes to London, she will favour me with a visit, for I am not well enough to
3 To which Johnson returned this answer:
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EARL OF PORTMORE.
“Dr. Johnson acknowledges with great respect the honour of Lord Portmore's notice. He is better than he was; and will, as his Lordship directs, write to Mr. Langton.
Apr, 13, 1781."
" TO OZIAS HUMPHRY, EŞQ.
" Mr. Hoole has told me with what benevolence you listened to a request which I was almost afraid to make, of leave to a young painter to attend you
from time to time in your painting-room, to see your operations, and receive your instructions
, “ The young man has perhaps good parts, but has been without a regular education. He is my god-son, and therefore I interest myself in his
progress and success, and shall think myself much favoured if I receive from you a permission to send him.
“ My health is, by God's blessing, much restored, but I am not yet allowed by my physicians to go
* The eminent painter, representative of the ancient family of Homfrey (now Humphry) in the west of England; who, as appears from their arms which they have invariably used, have been, (as I have seen authenticated by the best authority,) one of those among the Knights and Esquires of honour who are represented by Holinshed as having issued from the Tower of London on coursers apparalled for the justes, accompanied by ladies of honour, leading every one a Knight, with a chain of gold, passing through the streets of London into Smithfield, on Sunday, at three o'clock in the afternoon, being the first Sunday after Michaelmas, in the fourteenth year of King Richard the Second. This family once enjoyed large possessions, but, like others, have lost them in the progress of ages. Their blood, however, remains to them well ascertained ; and they may hope in the revolution of events, to recover that rank in society for which, in modern times, fortune seems to be an indispensable requisite.
5 Son of Mr. Samuel Paterson, eminent for his knowledge of books.